Manufacturing is in the midst of its fourth industrial revolution. Experts are calling it Industry 4.0. This means that emerging technologies are helping to streamline business practices, which is allowing manufacturers to take and keep a competitive edge. Companies who are investing in this technology now have a better way of monitoring and controlling all tools of production; and, are using this data to improve productivity and quality. This revolution is placing IoT technology at the heart of these businesses. What manufacturers are using Business Productivity solutions that combine sensors with software to improve both safety and efficiency?
King’s Hawaiian, a California-based business, installed an IoT integrated system at a new Georgia plant way back in 2011! This allowed them to remotely monitor production at the plant, and Engineers in California could easily access, diagnose and service the plant’s machines through the system’s servers. The results were amazing. This technology enabled them to produce 180,000 more pounds of bread everyday; which was twice the amount the company normally produced. This is because they significantly reduced manual service labor and machine downtime. They were also able to make this plant operational in a matter of weeks rather than months. This was all due to the added efficiency of this IoT system.
Another company that reaped the benefits of a connected system is General Electric. At their Durathon battery factory in Schenectady, N.Y., IoT technology helped the company collect data about processes 24 hours a day. With 10,000 sensors on the assembly line and sensors in every single battery, managers instantly know the status of production. They are then able to seamlessly share this information and data with coworkers in other departments. This technology makes production more effective because it eliminates information gaps about real-time conditions. GE really knows how to fully optimize production and eliminate waste.
Ohio-based Food Manufacturer SugarCreek
SugarCreek purchased a facility in Indiana back in 2015. While completing this project, the building received a technical upgrade for IoT-based technology. This allows the machines there to effectively communicate with employees on the factory floor. With employees now wearing radio-frequency ID tags, this improves productivity and they are able to design jobs better. How does this work? RFID readers are set up in multiple areas across the facility, which creates coverage zones. As tools, equipment or workers move from one zone to the next, their location and movement are tracked in real-time. This allows them to analyze this information and make adjustments when necessary. By also knowing employees’ movements, this increases safety and security response times.
Wurth USA, one of the top suppliers of automotive fasteners, electrical supplies, chemicals and hardware, uses cameras to measure the number of components in their “iBins” along production lines. This gives them an inventory management system that automatically places supply orders to refill the containers. McKinsey Global says that IoT technology is changing the face of Inventory Management in this industry as well. With Wurth having a system that uses intelligent camera technology to monitor the fill level of a supply box, this is efficiency at its best. McKinsey also says that by using these inventory optimization measures, a company can save as much as 20 to 50 percent of inventory carrying costs.
These are just some of the manufacturers who are making strategic investments in business productivity solutions and recognizing essential growth. According to IDC, a market research firm, data generated by IoT devices will account for 10 percent of the world’s data by 2020. It’s just something that smart manufacturers can’t ignore if they want to remain competitive in this rapidly changing industrial landscape. As you can see, custom developed software driving this change has become a game changer for many companies. They recognize that off-the-shelf software simply cannot provide the sustainable competitive advantage a business needs. Please contact us today and we’ll help you get a clear vision of what IoT can do for you.